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We mustn't get ahead of ourselves but…

123 Priority one: Repairing the public finances by focusing on reducing spending. Tax rises should not even be contemplated until possibilities for reductions in the size of the state have been exhausted.

Priority two: Defending the wealth creators. Without growth we are never going to get out of Labour's mess. We need to make it clear to every investor and entrepreneur – at home and abroad – that a Conservative government will create an economic climate that rewards risk, innovation and effort.

Priority three: Measures to advance social justice. Not the big state schemes favoured by Labour but the pro-society compassion of the Centre for Social Justice. If there is to any new or protected public expenditure it should be the budgets that build family, the voluntary sector and Michael Gove's schools revolution.

I've developed these themes in an 800 word piece for Comment is free.

Tim Montgomerie

52 comments for: Three priorities for George Osborne’s first budget

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